In 2016, I focused on why real-time analytics is the vehicle for banks to transform the customer experience and increase customer retention. But with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) claiming to change the customer service game forever, how can banks ensure they’re delivering the timely and relevant experiences their customers expect? What will banks need to know in 2017 for their marketing and customer service channels to operate at peak effectiveness?
Below are my three predictions.
AI is the Real Deal, But It Needs to Get Personal
As data volumes surge and analytic engines become more mature, technology has finally caught up with the hype: AI is open for business. Companies like Apple, Google and IBM are making huge investments in AI, and the rise of chatbots in marketing and customer service strategies have put AI center stage.
But as marketers look to cash in on the proverbial AI “cash cow,” they need to consider whether the technology is helping deliver the customer experiences they want. As I referenced above, companies are amassing so much data (on customers, products, IT systems, etc.) that data scientists and analysts can no longer analyze it in an effective and timely fashion. Companies need to take immediate business action on their data, and the best, most efficient way to do that is with machines.
Machines can deal with data and automate the data science process so much faster than a human can. But machines and AI build models based on an enormous amount of data points, which leads to lumping customers into broad segments. This is misses the mark on delivering superior customer experiences. For banks to succeed in 2017 and beyond, they must go beyond placing customers in aggregate categories and instead know them at the individual level.
To achieve this, we’ll see banks increasingly consider real-time and behavioral customer data to build relevant customer experiences. By looking at behavioral patterns and user experiences for proactive measures banks can secure a personalized, unique, and memorable experience across multiple channels. This, in turn, enables the customer to feel understood and valued, and likely to develop loyalty—a good basis for customer retention, up-selling and cross-selling.
Citizen Data Scientists Make Their Mark
As machines and AI technology automate data science processes, we’ll see a shift in the way data scientists operate and use data. Traditionally, data modelling was confined to data scientists who had to manually analyze massive amounts of data. This will change in 2017.
Machines and technologies like natural language processing can analyze data so quickly—in real-time—it will free up time for data scientists to be creative, gain a greater level of accuracy, and focus on new analytics technologies and more complex forms of modeling and learning. As a result, any user within an organization will be able to perform analytic tasks that would previously have required the expertise of a highly skilled data scientist. This is the rise of the citizen data scientist.
This trend will empower data scientists within their organization while allowing marketers, C-level execs, HR, etc., to become more involved with and understand the power of data.
Millennial Expectations Will Shape the Banking Customer Experience
Millennials are often thought of as tech-savvy, independent, autonomous customers. Mobile apps allow them to deposit, withdraw and transfer with ease. However, thinking this group doesn’t need personal attention from their banks is a dangerous mindset. In fact, the opposite is true. My company, NGDATA, uncovered some surprising insights about millennial bankers in our 2016 Consumer Banking Survey which shows that their views will shape the way banks interact with customers in 2017 and beyond. For example, younger bank customers wish their banks understood them better, much more than those aged 35+. This means that as younger customers amass more money and influence, the demand for individual understanding will only increase.
Banks should already be devising customer-centric strategies that reach customers on an individual level, but if they haven’t, they need to put the pieces in place to meet this expectation. To do so, we’ll see banks apply customer analytics to all their marketing processes to help pinpoint each customer’s pain points and the most relevant offers to target them with. Banks that use a customer-centric approach can see more about their customers and design their programs based on their behaviors, demographics, and context.
The pieces are certainly in play for banks to exceed customer expectations next year. It will take the right combination of emerging technologies, turning insights into action and a strong focus on customer centricity that will move the needle. It appears these aspects are all converging at the right time.
What are your predictions for the future of bank marketing in 2017?